(Inca: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador)
The Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the sun god Inti. It also marked the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. One ceremony performed by the Inca priests was the tying of the sun. In Machu Picchu there is still a large column of stone called an Intihuatana, meaning “hitching post of the sun” or literally for tying the sun. The ceremony to tie the sun to the stone was to prevent the sun from escaping. The Spanish conquest, never finding Machu Picchu, destroyed all the other intihuatana, extinguishing the sun tying practice. The Catholic Church managed to suppress all Inti festivals and ceremonies by 1572. Since 1944 a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuamán (two km. from Cusco) on June 24 of each year, attracting thousands of local visitors and tourists. The Monte Alto culture may have also had a similar tradition.
Literally, Sea-Foam. The Creator. The teacher of the world. After the Great Flood, which covered even the highest mountains and destroyed all life, Virococha molded new people out of clay at Tia Huanaco. On each figure of clay he painted the many features, clothes and hairstyles of the many nations, and gave to them their languages, their songs and the seeds they were to plant. Bringing them to life, Viracocha ordered them to travel underground and emerge at different places on the earth. Then Viracocha made the sun and the moon and the stars, and assigned them to their places in the sky. Raising up smaller Viracocha, the God ordered them to go about the world and call forth the people, and see to it that they mulitplied and followed the commandments they had been given. Some of the little viracocha went south, some went southeast, while the God’s two sons traveled northeast and northwest. Viracocha himself traveled straight north. Some tribes had rebelled, and these Viracocha punished by turning the people into stone. At Pucara, forty leagues north of Cuzco, Viracocha called down fire from the sky upon those who had disobeyed his commandments. Arriving at last at Cuzco and the seacoast, Viracocha gathered together his two sons and all the little viracocah, and they walked across the water until they disappeared.